KC Johnson

History 3401–PPs and Lecture Notes



History 3401

Path to World War II

5 May 2016


  1. The United States and the Path to War
  2. Flexibility & FDR (Hitler and international public opinion—Rhineland, Nazi Olympics; East Asia events & FDR quarantine speech; FDR and anti-Axis vision; political realities—presidential power and court-packing scheme, economic downturn; public opinion & military budgets; domestic nativism—economic unrest and anti-immigrant sentiment; St. Louis affair; Alaska proposal)
  3. Munich (Hitler and the German military; reluctant Western rearmament; Anschluss and alteration of central European balance of power; the fate of Czechoslovakia—Masaryk, Beneš, and reliance on internationalism; Sudetenland and Hitler response; Chamberlain pressure on Daladier; Munich and demise of Czechoslovakia; “peace in our time”; Nazi-Soviet pact, diplomatic realignment, and U.S. irrelevance; invasion of Poland and start of World War II)


  1. Toward US Entry
  2. The German Surge (continued U.S. irrelevance—vague FDR appeal for peace; Winter War & “Phoney War”; French confidence & German gamble through Ardennes; fall of France & significance of intelligence triumph)
  3. The U.S. Response (Battle of Britain and Churchill leadership; indecision within Germany and decision to terminate air attack; Roosevelt-Churchill alliance: Lend-Lease, Selective Security Act, Destroyers-for-Bases, sharing of intelligence—“arsenal of democracy”; America First and battle over isolation; 1940 campaign & FDR decision for third term; tensions between domestic and international obligations; FDR constraints: public attitudes, uncertainty European situation, Constitution)
  4. Toward Pearl Harbor (invasion of USSR—early German routs; Soviet implosion; failure of political leadership?; international expectations; North Atlantic—Argentia, Iceland, undeclared naval war; Lend-Lease, increasing pressure on Japan, domestic transformation—sympathy for Allies, continued non-interventionist sentiment?; America First and anti-semitism; path to Pearl Harbor and U.S. entrance into war; postwar conspiracy theories)


History 3401

New Deal

3 May 2016


  1. The Election of 1932
  2. Democratic Race (FDR and national politics; FDR gubernatorial record—Frankfurter, appeal to progressives—regulation, taxation, public power; challengers—Smith, Garner, Baker; FDR, agriculture, and South)
  3. Creating the New Deal Coalition (1920s and changing nature of Democratic Party—role of ethnic Democrats; South, Depression, and poverty; FDR and intellectuals—Frankfurter connection, NYC and DC journalists; black migration and Democratic outreach to African-Americans—from DePriest to Mitchell in Chicago; Hoover weakness, flexibility of FDR vision—“balanced budget”; Democratic triumph)
  4. Depression, New Deal, and the Origins of the American Welfare State
  5. FDR and New Deal Ideology (the FDR cabinet; FDR as administrator; 100 Days; three early New Deal tracks—federal spending programs—PWA, WPA, CCC; anti-monopoly revived—regulatory impulse, decline of business’ political clout, FDIC, SEC, “New Dealers” and legal realists, TVA, Glass-Steagall; associationalism—AAA and NRA; effects: 1933 GNP-2.1%; unemployed 24.9%; 1934 GNP+7.7%; unemployed 21.7%)
  6. Critics Left and Right (Huey Long and share-the-wealth; Charles Townsend and old-age pensions; old progressives and reconciling to new era; Smith and Liberty League; role of race)
  7. Second New Deal? (gearing up for 1936; Long assassination; tackling the public utilities issue; Social Security, Wagner Act, and establishment of modern American welfare state; limits of FDR vision—temporary nature and Morganthau, eclectic management style)
  8. The Court-Packing Scheme (1936 and limitations of FDR agenda; poor preparation and political coalition; proposal and opposition—significance of Wheeler defection; judicial fallout: West Coast Hotel v. Parrish (1937); role of Roberts)


History 3401

The Conservative Turn

21 Apr. 2016


  1. The Collapse of Progressivism

Foreign Policy (debate over Treaty of Versailles; Articles X, XI, and the Constitution; Russia & Armenia; election of 1920; Washington naval conference; Munich putsch, Ruhr, and German hyperinflation)

  1. 1920s divisions (labor v. NWP; IWW & aftermath of Red Scare; changing nature of immigration law; Sacco-Vanzetti case and civil liberties; SLIDE incorporation doctrine—Gitlow v. New York (1925); NAACP and defeat of federal anti-lynching law)
  2. The Backlash (anti-evolution movement; Scopes trial—Mencken, Darrow and public perception; Volstead Act: urban/rural divisions, rise of organized crime, popular attitudes toward the law; what to do?)


III. Domestic & International Affairs

The Constitution according to William Howard Taft (the Taft Court—Bailey v. Drexel Furniture (1922)—child labor; Adkins v. Children’s Hospital (1923)—minimum wage; Bluefield Water Works (1923)—Court holds that “unreasonable” rates confiscatory; progressives on the defensive: failure of Child Labor amendment)

  1. Political Developments (La Follette and 1924 campaign; progressive triumph: warmaking issues—the Nicaraguan intervention & the Dill amendment)


History 3401

U.S. and World War I

19 Apr. 2016


  1. Outbreak of War
  2. Europe and the Conflict (shifting alliances; naval arms races; provocations: 2nd Moroccan Crisis; role of Serbia; first and second Balkan Wars; firming of alliance system and development of Schlieffen Plan; mobilization & use-it-or-lose-it philosophy; Ferdinand assassination, “blank check,” and European lurch to war; invasion of Belgium; Russian setbacks in East; failure of Schlieffen Plan; race to sea and origins of trench warfare; movement toward “total war”)
  3. The Wilsonian Response (diplomatic structure: Bryan and weak pacifism, arbitration; Col. House and forerunner to national security advisor; Wilson personal background; “neutral in thought as well as in deed”; impossibility—response to loans to Allies, submarine warfare; Lusitania sinking—Bryan resignation, practical effects)


  1. War and the Contradictions of Wilsonianism
  2. Decision for War (changing context of European events: difficulties among France and Italy, February Revolution in Russia; German government and decision for unrestricted submarine warfare; strains of victory—Zimmerman Telegram, armed ship bill, war atmosphere and collapse of progressivism; war vote)
  3. The War at Home (decision for war—did alternatives exist?; nature of US involvement; the military and US society; key decisions—draft, war finance, civil liberties, economic policy; Wilson and his cabinet—Burleson, Gregory; the La Follette case; Wilson, a divided progressive movement, and the Sedition/Espionage Acts)
  4. U.S. and World War I (difficulties of mobilization; Wilson and war aims—the Fourteen Points address; mobilization of AEF; tipping the military scales; Wilson and the Western Allies; collapse of Austria-Hungary and Ottoman Empire; uncertainty of victory)


History 3401


14 April 2016


  1. Domestic Reform and the Law
  2. Changing the Courts (the nature of progressivism; Lochner and the court system; limited scope of reform—Muller v. Oregon; La Follette and roll call reporting; Western progressivism: initiative & referenda (CA model); TR and Bull Moose campaign—overriding judicial decisions?; Norris and progressive reformers in Congress—judicial recall)
  3. Changing the Constitution (Bristow and progressive constitutional reformers; the Pollock controversy—White wording, political outcry; Democratic gains and path to 16th amendment; direct election—attraction of campaign finance reform and open government; House pushes issue; Southern concerns; 17th amendment)
  4. Changing the Structure (progressivism and the regulatory impulse—Wisconsin as model of state regulation; ICC and origins of regulation; Bureau of Corporations, Food and Drug Act; enforcing Sherman Anti-Trust Act—from Northern Securities Co. v. U.S. (1904) to Standard Oil v. U.S. (1911) and “rule of reason” test; legislative response: FTC and Clayton Act; new issues outpacing the law: utilities, energy, electricity, mass transit; how to regulate—state vs. federal tension)


  1. The Contradictions of Progressivism
  2. Liberalizing the Court (role of appointments processes; McReynolds and the dangers of hasty nominees; Brandeis nomination and the Senate fight; Clarke and 1916 election)
  3. Civil Liberties (social control or civil liberties?; legacy of Comstock Act (1873); freedom of speech and press—censorship laws, Patterson v. Colorado (1907), Fox v. Washington (1915), Holmes and 1st amendment jurisprudence; 1903 immigration law and bar on anarchists)
  4. Other Progressive Amendments (prohibition antecedents; ASL and WCTU; importance of Webb-Kenyon; role of World War I; women’s suffrage—Senate rejection and state route; limited success; wartime moralism, NWP—Paul and amendment)


core–la impism

History 3401
12 April 2016

  1. War and Aftermath
  2. The Cuban Revolt (Cuba and the Spanish empire; transformation of Cuban economy—abolition of slavery, dramatic expansion of U.S. investment; earlier revolt and U.S. policy; racial and economic issues within Cuba)
  3. The U.S. Involvement (1893: renewed conflict and effects; Spanish response—Weyler strategies; Venezuela: Olney manifesto and more assertive U.S. role in hemisphere; Cuban junta and U.S. public opinion; economic pressure from business interests; sinking of the Maine; McKinley and decision for war—Teller amendment; war and U.S. public opinion; McKinley decisions [Cuba, Philippines, and Puerto Rico] and debate; road to the Platt amendment)


  1. Imperial Rivalries in the Western Hemisphere
  2. The Panama Canal (TR Reputation & muscular image; pre-presidential background and succession of McKinley; demise of Clayton-Bulwer Treaty; Panama—French canal company’s failure, re-emergence of interest after Spanish-American War; negotiations with Colombia; breakdown and decision to sponsor rebellion; violation of Bidlack’s Treaty; poisonous effects on hemisphere)
  3. The Venezuela crisis (Latin American regimes and reliance on foreign capital; Poyais affair; foreign investment and diplomatic leverage; Castro government and foreign loans; German-British-Italian intervention; U.S. response; decision from The Hague: international law in the pre-World War I era)
  4. Alternatives to Intervention (2nd Cuban intervention; Dominican Republic and customs receivership—model for future?; demographic and economic trends Latin America—population shift Argentina)
  5. Mexican Revolution and Imperialism (after Juarez: the Diaz dictatorship, the scientificos and foreign investment; 1900-onwards concern with excessive U.S. investment and opening to Europe; Britain and Mexican oilfields; Madero rebellion, Diaz ouster, and continued instability; U.S. policy and importance of Henry Lane Wilson; British policy and significance of agents; Germany and the hemisphere; U.S. and the coup)
  6. Woodrow Wilson and Imperialism (contradictions in Wilsonianism—bold rhetoric, emphasis on peace and internationalism; racism, paternalism; interventions in Haiti and Dominican Republic: American colonialism?)



History 3401

Gilded Age

5 April 2016


  1. The End of Reconstruction
  2. Gutting Reconstruction (Tilden and the restored Democratic Party; the electoral crisis and the end of Reconstruction; the Redeemers’ New South; rise of Jim Crow laws—social pressures, political pressures, extent of apartheid arrangement; from the Civil Rights Cases to Plessy; political attitudes; significance of Harlan dissents)
  3. Other Minorities (anti-Chinese activism and Chinese Exclusion Act; role of California politics—Kearney and Workingmen’s Party; Yick Wo v. Hopkins and 14th amendment (1886); women and public sphere—limited voting, but no general suffrage, 1872 S.B. Anthony arrest; divisions among suffrage movement; public/private mix—WCTU and temperance movement, Kansas, South; women and the law—state licensing boards, Bradwell v. Illinois; changing nature of divorce—absolute abolition [S.C.], Dakota Terr. 1887 law & residency issue)


  1. Judicial Supremacy: The Economy, Foreign Affairs
  2. Political Changes (rise of corporate structure and changing conception of corporations; corruption: state governments, scandals, and railroad boom—paying off bonds; congressional government—Credit Mobilier, “Millionaires’ Club”; scandal—Colfax and Blaine; presidencies and patronage—remoteness of federal government)
  3. The Courts & The Economy (growth of legal profession—law as neutral force; creation of ABA; growing Supreme Court activism; expanded number circuit courts; incorporation law and federal jurisdiction—importance of diversity rule; Jurisdiction and Removal Act of 1875)
  • Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific Railroad (1886, corporations as persons under the 14th amendment);
  • Pollock v. Farmers’ Home and Trust (1895, income tax);
  • S. v EC Knight (1895, protecting corporations);
  • In re Debs (1895, harming labor)
  1. System Breaks Down (Cleveland, ethics, and conservative Democrats; rural difficulties and emergence of Populists; political instability and Cleveland return; Panic of 1893; “cross of gold” and Bryan; McKinley victory)




History 3401


31 March 2016



  1. The Promise of Reconstruction
  2. The Basic Questions (what were the Union’s war aims?; role of race: is the 13th amendment enough? What is the obligation of the federal government to the former slaves?, economic vs. political rights; role of war: was the “conflict” a “war”?; role of federalism: can the Constitution survive the Civil War?, issue of military government vs. states’ rights; future of Republican Party: economic vs. ideological interests)
  3. From Lincoln to Johnson (interpreting Lincoln’s plan for Reconstruction; legacy of Union Party; Johnson political background and role of race; former rebels and postwar Congress; Black Codes and Southern policies; constitutional theories—national or federal government?; Freedmen’s Bureau and the limits of Washington’s power)
  4. Reconstruction Agenda (historiography; demographic situation in the South; overpowering the President: Civil Rights Act of 1866; empowering the Radicals—1866 election, role of Stevens; going around the President—14th amendment; military governments—Reconstruction Act of 1867)
  5. Constitutional Crisis (Tenure of Office Act, Johnson, and Stanton; House impeachment; Senate trial and acquittal; ramifications—weakening of Radicals, politicizing impeachment?, significance of Wade; Grant election)


III. The Failure of Reconstruction

  1. The Failure of Political Leadership (black political participation & Southern politics—15th amendment, Rainey, Revels, black members of Congress; emergence of Ku Klux Klan; federal response: implementing the 14th amendment: implementing the 14th amendment—Enforcement Act [1870], Ku Klux Klan Act [1871], Civil Rights Act [1875]; blueprints for a Republican South; Southern “redeemers” and massive resistance)
  2. The Failure of Judicial Leadership (Salmon Chase and the changing nature of the Court; Morrison Waite and diminished interest in civil rights; tensions between states’ rights and national power, between economic and political rights)
  • Slaughterhouse cases [1873] and limiting the scope of the 14th amendment;
  • Cruikshank [1876] and gutting the Enforcement Act;
  • S. v. Reese [1876] and gutting the 15th amendment (no right to vote);
  • Hall v. DeCuir (1877) and constitutional Catch-22;
  • Civil Rights Cases [1883] and upholding states’ rights—interstate commerce clause narrowly.

core-civil war

History 3401

The Civil War

29 March 2016



  1. Pressing Issues
  2. Legacies (election of 1860; Crittenden Compromises; was there a constitutional way to avoid the Civil War?; Lincoln and the Court: legacy of Taney; Merryman and executive defiance; Supreme Court sensibilities)
  3. Expanding Governmental Power (Lincoln and executive authority: moving beyond traditional Whiggery—J.Q. Adams model; the Constitution in civil conflict: habeas corpus and martial law; Vallandingham case and question of congressional power; draft law and its inequities; growth of federal government; spoils system and civil service; state executives)
  4. Congressional Response (the Union government in civil conflict: Homestead Act, Land Grant College Act, Pacific RR Act; importance of Thaddeus Stevens and congressional leadership; more efficient Congress; government and the economy; Joint Committee on Conduct of War—mission and legacy)


III. The Issues Ahead

  1. The Aims of War (war for union or war for abolition?; African-Americans and US society; interpreting the Emancipation Proclamation; Congress and DC—limited embrace of freedom)
  2. The Course of War (blockade; foreign recognition of CSA; King Cotton diplomacy and its limitations; Lee strategy and decision to invade; wartime effects—difficulty in Virginia; Gettysburg and aftermath; Grant and campaign in the West)
  3. The Limits of Change (Union Party and political limits of change—McClellan and 1864 campaign; interpreting Lincoln’s plan for Reconstruction—Ten Percenters, contrasting reconstruction plans, 13th amendment)





History 3401

United States and the Wider World

22 March 2016


  1. Foundations
  2. The Collapse of the Ottoman Empire (Barbary States—Morocco Treaty, Barbary Wars and Jefferson; Greek Rebellion; Adams and political needs; Monroe Doctrine and US political distancing from Europe; effects on unstable South America)
  3. Boundary Issues (Maine legacy—political disputes, Aroostook boundary, path to Webster-Ashburton Treaty; from 54-40 or fight to Oregon settlement)
  4. Naval Power (role of Perry; Liberia and US protectorate—slave trade, economic investment; opening to Japan and changing of Asian international relations)
  5. United States as Imperialist Power
  6. Latin America (filibustering and Slave Power; Ostend Manifesto; William Walker and Nicaragua; centrality of Cuba; South America, Buchanan, and Water Witch episode; congressional resistance; Dominican Republic and Mexico)
  7. Soft Power (foreign missionary movement and American Christian reform; initial focus on Levant—Syria, Armenia; educational mission—Robert College; transfer of interest to China; emergence of US role in East Asia)
  8. Inter-American Affairs (South American instability—wars in Paraguay, Chile; trade and desire for WH market; Pan-American Union)

3401–1850s (2)

History 3401

The Political Crisis of the 1850s

10 March 2016



  1. Constitutional Polarization
  2. Last Gasp of the Whigs (sectionalism and breakdown of political system; Taylor death, Clay revival, and Compromise of 1850; Seward and “higher law”)
  3. Pierce and the Disruptive Presidency (collapse of the Whigs; Pierce and a bisectional Democratic Party; Kansas-Nebraska Act: Douglas and origins; Douglas arguments; opponents’ response and significance of moral framing)
  4. Bleeding Kansas (political realignment—collapse of Northern Democrats in 1854 elections, birth of Republican Party—collapse of Whigs, role of Know-Nothings, Republicans as constitutional coalition; political violence—caning of Sumner, celebration of Preston Brooks, John Brown and constitutional radicalism; Kansas civil war—Northern abolitionists against Atchison forces; fraud and pro-slavery Lecompton government; Pierce response)


  1. The System Collapses
  2. Dred Scott and American Democracy (central questions—can blacks be citizens?; can slavery be prohibited in territories?; Taney background: Jacksonian Democrat, Charles River Bridge case; Buchanan and framing the issue; Buchanan inaugural address and political deal; Taney ruling and constitutional breadth; Court attack on Republican platform, Republican attack on Court; Lincoln-Douglas debates)
  3. Election of 1860 (collapse of Democratic Party and Southern assertiveness; emergence of Constitutional Union; Lincoln as moderate Republican; narrow band of states in play; dual elections and road to secession)


Essay questions: Both of these questions will appear on the midterm. You’ll have to write an exciting, illuminating response to one of them.


  • “Presidential leadership represents the best way to understand particular periods of American history.” Discuss, with reference to three of the following decades: 1790s, 1800s, 1840s, and 1850s.
  • Slavery has often been described as the original sin of the Constitution. To what extent did it overshadow all other issues in the pre-Civil War era; or did other topics sometimes rank as more important? Discuss, using examples from the following periods: 1789-1800; 1824-1836; and 1840-1848.



3401–MX war

History 3401

Manifest Destiny

8 March 2016


  1. New Issues
  2. Political Culture of the American Whigs (nature of Whig constituency; emphasis on social reform; abolitionism and role of Adams, Garrison; women’s rights and the path to Seneca Falls; public education and Horace Mann; role of temperance and religion; skepticism of violence)
  3. Texas (Mexican independence; difficulties between Mexicans and Indians; Southern emigration and changes in Mexican legal code; the Texas revolt, Texas independence, and the slavery issue; role of Houston; Great Power politics)


  1. War and Expansion
  2. 1844 (Slave Power and demise of Van Buren; demographic change and importance of Texas; nomination of Polk; Clay and tensions of Whigs; role of Liberty Party and fraying of 2-party system; election of Polk)
  3. Mexican War (changing ideological justifications for expansion—O’Sullivan and Manifest Destiny; Walker and nationalism; Polk’s decision for war; growth of the commander-in-chief power; war declaration: expansion of gag order; need to rally public support; congressional opposition—Adams, Giddings, and power of purse; radical Whig reconception of Unionism; political implications; Wilmot Proviso: does Congress have power to forbid slavery in territories?; revival of treatymaking power—Guadalupe-Hidalgo, Hise Treaty, Yucatan;
  4. Aftereffects (demographic issues—Mormon expansion, Irish Potato famine and immigration; election of 1848 and repudiation of Democrats; Taylor and unionism)



History 3401

Jacksonian America

3 March 2016


  1. Emergence of Jacksonian America
  2. 1828 Election (legacy of “corrupt bargain”; re-emergence of multi-party system; emergence of popular politics; nature of Jacksonian coalition; dramatic increase in voter participation; changing rules)
  3. Nullification and Constitutional Debates (contradictions of Jacksonianism—pro-Southern nationalist?; debate over the tariff; nature of Webster-Hayne debate; Calhoun and Fort Hill address; racial issues: expansion of slavery and effects on national politics and economy; Jackson, Supreme Court, and Cherokee cases; appointment of Taney)


  1. Whigs’ America
  2. The Bank Fight (Bank of the United States fight—politics and the economy; Jackson and “populism”; congressional opposition & political benefits for Jackson; demographic changes in society)
  3. Emergence of Whigs (VanBuren election and difficulties of Jacksonian legacy; Panic of 1837 and effect on economy; Whig challenge and election of Harrison; frustrations of Tyler administration; role of Supreme Court)
  4. Understanding the Whigs (reform principles—modernism, religion, education, suspicion of violence; abolitionism—Adams, Garrison; women’s rights—path to Seneca Falls; public education—role of Horace Mann; temperance movement)


History 3401

Jeffersonian America

1 March 2016


  1. Jefferson in Power
  2. New Regime (1800 election and aftermath; Jefferson and the Jeffersonian agenda; creating a new capital—L’Enfant design; White House and Washington community; boardinghouse politics)
  3. Jefferson and World Affairs (empire of liberty idea; Napoleon and LA Purchase—importance of L’Ouverture and Haitian Revolution; Barbary Wars; dangers of impressment and Jefferson’s decision for embargo; limits of “strict constructionism”)
  4. War and Aftermath (caucus system and election of Madison—decline of Federalists; Madison’s weaknesses and path to war; nature of conflict; Hartford Convention and collapse of Federalists; consolidation of US power and expansion)


  1. A New Generation
  2. Emergence of Supreme Court (John Marshall and establishing position of Chief Justice–background; principle of judicial review—Marbury v. Madison; Chase and origins of impeachment clause; contract law and Dartmouth College case; limitations on state power and McCulloch v. Maryland, Gibbons v. Ogden)
  3. Latin American Revolutions (European developments—Joseph Bonaparte and Spain; collapse of Spanish rule in South America; US role—Poinsett; decision for Monroe Doctrine—domestic rationalizations; Missouri Compromise and role of slavery in national politics; 1824 election and “corrupt bargain”)




History 3401

Creating the New Government

25 Feb. 2016


  1. Debating the Constitution


  1. Unresolved Issues (slavery and race; presidential and judicial power; role of parties)
  2. The Process (significance of Pennsylvania debate; interpreting the Anti-Federalists)
  3. The Issues (Bill of Rights; vagueness; nature of representation; size of a republic; nature and power of judiciary; insufficient checks and balances; nature of military)


  1. Establishing the Constitutional Structure
  2. The First Federal Congress (historiographical debate: legislature or continuation convention?; elections and more nationalist cast; Judiciary Act of 1789—3-tier federal court system; Section 9—federal courts have jurisdiction on authority of US; Section 25—specifying appeals from state courts to federal courts; Section 34—diversity of jurisdiction; House and Senate)
  3. Policy Choices (Washington and Whiskey Rebellion; domestic powers: Hamilton and national debt, executive power-Compromise of 1790 (state debts, Washington DC), creation of Bank of United States; foreign affairs: treatymaking clause and role of Senate—limitations of “advise” power; runup to Jay’s Treaty; House and Jay’s Treaty aftermath; nature of Farewell Address)

III. Politics and Policy

  1. The Adams Years (demographic expansion and urbanization; cotton gin and slavery takes root; international climate—French Revolution and resulting wars; contrasting visions election of Adams & Jefferson; divisions within the parties; differences with contemporary political parties)
  2. Adams Administration Policies (Federalists and the dangers of a declining party; international tensions and path to undeclared naval war with France; party system; Alien and Sedition Acts—judicial review and VA/KY Resolutions; Jeffersonian response; 1800 election and issues; path to 12th amendment)



History 3401

Debating the Constitution

23 February 2016



  1. Writing the Constitution
  2. Intellectual Advances (purpose of Senate, nature of republican executive)
  3. Convention Changes (increases in executive power; role of Committee of Style)
  4. Legacy of Compromise (political pragmatism, lessons of past, slavery)


  1. The Ratification Debate
  2. The Process (ratification conventions; PA and DE; significance of Pennsylvania debate—James Wilson, “Dissent of the Pennsylvania Minority”; formation of Federalist and Anti-Federalist blocs)
  3. Interpreting the Anti-Federalists (middle class vs. elites?; “men of little faith”; proponents of states’ rights; idealistic republicans—inheritors of revolutionary spirit; libertarians; forerunners of modern-day conservatives?; forerunners of modern-day populists?)
  4. The Nature of the Contest (early Federalist victories; Massachusetts and role of Hancock—introduction of amendments; New York and Virginia showdowns)
  5. The Issues:
  6. Bill of Rights—early A-F attacks, Federalist blind spot, concession: but how comprehensive will rights be?
  7. vagueness
  8. size and nature of representation: legacy of Revolutionary debate—question of virtual representation, 30K figure—how chosen?
  9. consolidation of national power [size and Montesquieu]—Brutus and role of liberty, Madison and Federalist 10
  10. nature and power of judiciary—Hamilton and Federalist 78
  11. insufficient checks and balances—A-F concern with tyranny, distrust of politicians
  12. nature of military—what is a Standing Army?; Brutus dissents; national security & Feds


III. Legacy

  1. Why the Federalists Won (did they?; framing the debate; disunity among Anti-Federalists; amendment agreements)
  2. Lessons of Ratification (new approaches: regular army viewed as benign; concept of dual sovereignty possible; reexamination paradigm of republicanism regarding size of state and virtue of people; rejection of basic premises Revolutionary political culture?: fear of power, conviction that all free states degenerate, goal of government to protect individual rights)
  3. Bill of Rights (Madison and first federal Congress; structural decisions: how to assemble? Where to place?; differing types of amendments—original understanding?; unratified amendments



History 3401

The Constitution

18 Feb. 2016



  1. The Constitutional Convention
  2. The Framers and Their Motives (framers’ intellectual and professional backgrounds; economic self-interest?; strategic or ideological concern?; nationalism; youth and generational split; theory or politics at the convention?)


  1. The General Structure (federalism and nationalism; initial VA Plan and powers to national government; alternatives—NJ Plan and tilt toward smaller states, Hamilton approach and powerful national government; revisions—specified powers and origins of Article I, Sections 8—but how to interpret “necessary and proper” and “general welfare” clauses?; maintain authority of state powers; balance and check enumerated powers; result: principle of dual sovereignty; last-minute change by Committee on Style; Sept. 17—final vote: 39 yes, 3 no)


  1. The Constitutional Dilemmas
  2. The Character of the Senate (Senate as House of Lords to Senate as corporate body representing states; origins of CT Compromise and increased (revenue origination) power to House; role in legislative makeup; Senate and foreign affairs powers)


  1. The Character of the Executive (central question: how to create republican executive without being quasi-monarchical?; two central questions: who chooses the executive, and how many should there be?; choosing—initial plan for Congress, concern with factionalism and foreign powers—Polish example; separation of powers issue and need for stronger executive; distrust of populace; emergence of Electoral College; how many?—dangers of unitary executive; plural executive and historical lessons of Articles; system to create moderation)


  1. Foreign Affairs (key issues: treaties, war, Indians; initial conception of Senate—lesson of Articles; can Senate carry out diplomacy?; the Continental Congress, John Jay, and foreign affairs; war power—President as commander-in-chief and initial meaning; transition from “make” to “declare” war; letters of marque clause; the framers’ conception of international warfare; defense issues)


  1. Slavery (liberty and revolutionary legacy—movement toward abolition in Northern states; slavery and Southern economy; compromises—3/5th clause, fugitive slave, slave trade; what were framers’ expectations?)



History 3401

The Revolution

16 Feb. 2016


  1. The Colonial Legacy
  2. Salutary Neglect and the Laws of Political Science (unitary authority, mercantilism, international independence)
  3. Collapse of the De Facto System (1763 and new North American balance of power; new financial order; shortcomings of virtual representation)
  4. Explaining the American Response (radical Whigs; strategic legacy; British errors)


  1. The Revolutionary Dilemma
  2. Nature of War (contrast between rhetoric and reality—people’s army vs. standing army; Model Treaty vs. Treaty of Alliance; Saratoga and Valley Forge; importance of Washington & France; divisions within British leadership; surrender and peace treaty)
  3. The State Constitutions (PA 1776: unicameral legislature, rotation and annual election, Council of Censors; permutations; MA 1780: declaration of rights, bicameral legislature and resolving question of Senate, governor w/apptment. powers)
  4. The Articles in Theory (executive or legislative body—inheriting King’s authority?; haphazard nature of construction; rotation, states rights’ and voting system; states’ rights and allocations; opposing views: Dickinson and limitations on states; Morris and public debt)
  5. The Articles in Practice (factionalism, turnover, committees, and attendance; intercolonial disputes—Western lands; creation of executive departments—Robert Morris; highlighting legislative weakness; permutations of taxation)


III. Toward the Constitution

  1. Revolution and International Law (from a treaty system to a colonial system; Model Treaty and creation of precedent?; Congress and international authority—the Deane Mission; Livingston, Jay, and executive authority; Jay-Gardoqui Treaty and intersection between domestic and international constitutional structure)
  2. Revising the Articles (problems: economic interest groups; international commerce and foreign affairs power; domestic businessmen and need for full faith and credit, consequences of legislative majoritarianism; diplomatic activists—sense of crisis; role of Shays’ Rebellion; legacy of Northwest Ordinance)
  3. The Framers and Their Motives (intellectual and professional backgrounds; economic self-interest?; strategic or ideological concern?; nationalism; youth and generational split; theory or politics at the convention?; was Constitution inevitable?)

3401–road to rev


3401–opening class

History 3401


2 Feb. 2016



  1. Course Requirements


  1. Chronology


  1. From Colony to Independence (British colonies in Atlantic world; effects of 1754-63 war; path to revolution; War of Independence and Articles of Confederation; Constitutional Convention; ratification debate & Bill of Rights)


  1. Establishment of the Republic (Washington administration and origins of First Party System; Hamilton-Jefferson dispute; Adams administration and civil liberties; election of 1800; Jeffersonian vision and collapse of Federalists; US and Latin American revolutions; election of 1824)


  1. Debating Reform (Jackson and American democracy; creation of new party system; contrast between economic and social agenda; how to interpret the Whig Party?; Manifest Destiny and expansion—Mexican War; US position internationally)


  1. Civil War and Reconstruction (election of 1860 and Lincoln’s place in American historiography; Southern decision to secede; military and diplomatic nature of war; political and constitutional disputes; Emancipation Proclamation and 13th amendment; collapse of the South; Lincoln death and origins of Reconstruction; Johnson impeachment; failure of Reconstruction & historiographical debate)


  1. Looking Ahead (Gilded Age and economic rationale; political polarization; emergence of Jim Crow, Plessy decision; US imperialism and debate over status as empire; progressivism and nature of reform; election of Woodrow Wilson; World War I and emergence of US on world stage)
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